ENDEAVOUR PRAWNS (2020)
Metapenaeus endeavouri, Metapenaeus ensis
Date Published: June 2021
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The status for Australia’s stocks of Endeavour Prawns varies by species across jurisdictions depending on the availability of catch and abundance information. Where there is adequate information for assessment, such as in the main commercial fisheries, they are considered to be sustainable. Otherwise, where less information is available, they are classified as undefined.
Stock Status Overview
|Commonwealth||Northern Prawn Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn)||Sustainable||
Spawning biomass, fishing mortality, catch
|Commonwealth||Northern Prawn Fishery (Red Endeavour Prawn)||Undefined||
|Commonwealth||Torres Strait Prawn Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn)||Undefined||
Biomass, effort, catch
Endeavour Prawns includes two species, Blue Endeavour Prawn Metapenaeus endeavouri, and Red Endeavour Prawn M. ensis that are generally not distinguished in fisheries. Although the two species are caught in differing proportions in different regions.
Endeavour Prawn fisheries are located in Shark Bay, Exmouth Gulf, the north coast of Western Australia, the Gulf of Carpentaria, the Torres Strait and the east coast of Queensland. Little is known about the biological stock structure of the populations of Blue and Red Endeavour Prawns that make up these fisheries. The majority of catch reported in this chapter is Blue Endeavour Prawn. Red Endeavour Prawn represents less than 20 per cent of the catch in the East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery [Turnbull and Atfield 2007]) and between 20–40 per cent in the Northern Prawn Fishery.
Here, assessment of stock status is presented at the management unit level—Northern Prawn Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn), Northern Prawn Fishery (Red Endeavour Prawn), Torres Strait Prawn Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn) (Commonwealth); Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn), North Coast Prawn Managed Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn), Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn) (Western Australia); and East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery (Red and Blue Endeavour Prawn) (Queensland).
Northern Prawn Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn)
Blue Endeavour Prawn is assessed as part of the integrated bio-economic model for the Northern Prawn Fishery (Commonwealth) Tiger Prawn sector [Deng et al. 2018]. Commercial catch of Endeavour Prawn is disaggregated into separate species using a model incorporating historical fishery-independent survey data [Venables and Dichmont 2004]. Blue Endeavour Prawn is assessed using a biomass dynamic model, which estimated the spawner stock size at the end of 2017 to be at 44 per cent of the spawner stock size that would be required for maximum sustainable yield (SMSY) [Deng et al. 2018]. This is a substantial drop in biomass since the 2015 assessment (77%). However, the 5-year moving average of S/SMSY (the agreed performance indicator) was estimated at 67% which is above the limit reference point (LRP) of 50 per cent SMSY (0.5SMSY) (Deng et al. 2018). As a result, the stock is not considered to be recruitment impaired [Parsa et al. 2020].
The commercial catch in recent years has generally not exceeded 400 tonnes (t), with the exception of 2019 where catch was 509 t. This is below the estimate of maximum sustainable yield (base-case estimate of 752 t) [Deng et al. 2018]. This level of fishing pressure is unlikely to cause the management unit to become recruitment impaired [Parsa et al. 2020].
On the basis of the evidence provided above, the Northern Prawn Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn) (Commonwealth) management unit is classified as a sustainable stock.
Northern Prawn Fishery (Red Endeavour Prawn)
There is currently no reliable assessment to confidently classify the status of this stock [Parsa et al. 2020]. Catches over recent years have been quite low compared with historical highs and have not exceeded 300 t. The catch in 2019 was 147 t. Red Endeavour Prawns are caught as a by-product of effort directed at Tiger Prawns and these recent lower catches are most likely related to the decrease in fishing effort directed at Tiger Prawn, rather than any indication of a decline in Red Endeavour Prawn biomass. There is insufficient information available to confidently classify the status of this stock.
On the basis of the evidence provided above, the Northern Prawn Fishery (Red Endeavour Prawn) (Commonwealth) management unit is classified as an undefined stock.
Torres Strait Prawn Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn)
The most recent stock assessment for blue endeavour prawn was completed in 2009, using survey and catch data to the end of 2007 [Turnbull et al. 2009]. The 2009 assessment indicated that endeavour prawn biomass was around 80% of unfished biomass (0.8B0), and considerably higher than the calculated BMSY of 0.43B0. Effort in the fishery has been well below historic levels since the last stock assessment [Turnbull & Cocking 2019].
Catches of Blue Endeavour Prawn in the TSPF over the recent decade have been quite low compared with historical highs and, with exception of 2019 (299t), have not exceeded 200 t [Butler and Steven 2020]. Mean annual CPUE for endeavour prawn has largely remained at low levels (30–31 kg/day), though it rose to around 117 kg/day in 2019. This most recent CPUE is similar to CPUE from earlier years, when blue endeavour prawn was a higher-value, targeted species (Turnbull & Cocking 2019). Since 2002, catches have been below the estimated MSY (1 060 t) and effort has been below MSY (9 667 nights)[Butler and Steven 2020; Turnbull and Cocking 2019].
The outputs from the 2009 stock assessment for Blue Endeavour prawn have become less relevant over time, with increased uncertainty in current status due to highly variable recruitment, short prawn life span, changes in fleet dynamics and vessel efficiency, and changes in catch and effort. Furthermore, nominal catch rates for Blue Endeavour prawn have declined by over 50 per cent since 2008 [Turnbull and Cocking 2019]. The 2009 stock assessment is no longer regarded as a sound basis for determining stock status, hence there is insufficient information available to confidently classify the status of this stock.
On the basis of the evidence provided above, the Torres Strait Prawn Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn) (Commonwealth) management unit is classified as an undefined stock.
Red and Blue Endeavour Prawn biology [Courtney et al. 1989, Kailola et al. 1993, Keating et al. 1990, Kangas et al. 2015, Somers et al. 1987, Yearsley et al. 1999]
|Species||Longevity / Maximum Size||Maturity (50 per cent)|
|ENDEAVOUR PRAWNS||1–2 years, 200 mm TL||~6 months Females 24–26 mm CL Males ~18 mm CL|
Commonwealth – Indigenous (management methods) The Commonwealth Government does not manage non-commercial Indigenous fishing (with the exception of the Torres Strait). In general, non-commercial Indigenous fishing in Commonwealth waters is managed by the states or territory immediately adjacent to those waters. In the Torres Strait both commercial and non-commercial Indigenous fishing is managed by the Torres Strait Protected Zone Joint Authority (PZJA) through the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (Commonwealth), Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry (Queensland) and the Torres Strait Regional Authority. The PZJA also manages non-Indigenous commercial fishing in the Torres Strait.
Commonwealth – Recreational (fishing methods) The Commonwealth Government does not manage recreational fishing. Recreational fishing in Commonwealth waters is managed by the states or territory immediately adjacent to those waters, under their management regulations.
Queensland – Indigenous (management methods) for more information see https://www.daf.qld.gov.au/business-priorities/fisheries/traditional-fishing
Commercial catch of Red and Blue Endeavour Prawns - note confidential catch not shown
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- Butler, I and Steven, A, 2020, Torres Strait Prawn Fishery, in H Patterson, J Larcombe, J Woodhams and R Curtotti (eds), Fishery status reports 2019, Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, Canberra.
- Courtney, A, Dredge, M, and Masel, J 1989, Reproductive Biology and Spawning Periodicity of Endeavour Shrimps Metapenaeus endeavouri (Schmitt, 1926) and Metapenaeus ensis (de Haan, 1850) from a Central Queensland (Australia) Fishery, Asian Fisheries Science, 3: 133–147.
- DPIRD 2018, Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery harvest strategy 2014–2019.
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- Kailola, PJ, Williams, MJ, Stewart, PC, Reichelt, RE, McNee, A and Grieve, C 1993, Australian Fisheries Resources, Bureau of Rural Resources and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, Canberra.
- Kangas, MI, Sporer, EC, Hesp, SA, Travaille, KL, Moore, N, Cavalli, P and Fisher, EA 2015, Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery, Western Australian Marine Stewardship Council Report Series, 1: 273 pp.
- Keating, J, Watson, R, and Sterling, D 1990, Reproductive biology of Penaeus esculentus (Haswell, 1879) and Metapenaeus endeavouri (Schmitt, 1926) in Torres Strait, in Mellors, J (ed.), in Torres Strait prawn project: a review of research 1986–1988, Queensland Department of Primary Industries Information Series, Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Brisbane.
- Parsa, M, Larcombe, J, Butler, I and Curtotti, R, 2020, Northern Prawn Fishery, in H Patterson, J Larcombe, J Woodhams and R Curtotti (eds), Fishery status reports 2019, Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, Canberra.
- Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries 2018, Queensland Stock Status Assessment Workshop Proceedings 2018. Species Summaries. 19-20 June 2018, Brisbane.
- Somers, I, Poiner, I and Harris, A 1987, A study of the species composition and distribution of commercial penaeid prawns in Torres Strait, Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, 38: 47–61.
- Turnbull, C and Cocking, L 2019, Torres Strait Prawn Fishery Data Summary 2019, Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Canberra, Australia.
- Turnbull, C and Gribble, N 2004, Assessment of the northern Queensland Tiger and Endeavour prawn stocks: 2004 update, Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Brisbane.
- Turnbull, C, Tanimoto, M, O’Neill, MF, Campbell, A & Fairweather, CL 2009, Torres Strait spatial management research project 2007–09, final report for DAFF consultancy DAFF83/06, Queensland Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Brisbane.
- Turnbull, CT and Atfield, JC 2007, Fisheries Long Term Monitoring Program—Summary of tiger and endeavour prawn survey results: 1998–2006, Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Brisbane, Australia
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- Yearsley, G, Last, P and Ward, R 1999, Australian seafood handbook: domestic species, CSIRO Marine Research, Hobart.